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Clayton Bellamy Foundation continues raising funds for theatre

While costs have grown for the construction of the arts theatre, the Clayton Bellamy Foundation is slowly raising the required money.

BONNYVILLE - At a Jan. 9 council meeting, Municipal District of Bonnyville council voted to hold off providing additional funding for the Clayton Bellamy Foundation’s construction of a new art theatre until the completion of their 2023 audited financial statements.

The foundation is planning to construct a state-of-the-art 340-seat theatre in Bonnyville Centralized High School.

During the summer of 2023, MD Council approved a maximum of $178,000 in matching dollars towards the construction of the performing arts theatre through the Large Capital Project stream of the Community Action Grant Policy. Preliminary costs were estimated to be $1.4 million, but after the construction tender process, the actual project cost is now estimated to be $2.4 million.  

The foundation, established during the pandemic, provides Lakeland youth with bursary opportunities for pursuing post-secondary education in the arts while also creating programming for dance, music, art and drawing. 

Coun. Dana Swigart initially wanted to explore the option of using $100,000 in leftover funding from MD capital projects list to provide additional funds to the foundation. However, CAO Al Hogan mentioned that the council cannot retroactively use the 2023 capital budget to fund the 2024 budget. 

According to information provided by administration during the meeting, "no funds are identified for this project in the 2024 Operating Budget and the 2024 Budget for Council Giving to Industry and non-government organizations is $100,000. This is used for multi-year donations previously committed to by Council ($59,000 in 2024), and for project/event donations made through motion by council outside of municipal grant policy."

CAO Al Hoggan advised council that the MD will have a handle on any surplus funds from 2023 probably into late March - mid April once the audited financial statement is complete and then following that council will be reviewing the 2024 mill rate bylaw. He suggested council could make a motion to fund out of surplus dollars, cautioning however he couldn't say at this time what the surplus if any would look like.

Administration's recommendation to council was that the MD maintains funding in the previously approved amount of $178,000. However, council agreed to revisit the additional funding request this spring for consideration.

In addition to the MD's $178,000, a September 2023 record of sponsorship support for the project indicates a $50,000 contribution from CNRL, $100,000 from Stratchcona Resources, $85,000 from the City of Cold Lake and $58,000 from the Fine Arts Society. The foundation also had just shy of $1 million of its own funds. 

The Town of Bonnyville approved a $100,000 donation towards the project in 2023 and on Jan. 24 approved an additional $50,000 in funding.

So far, the foundation has raised $1.6 million in funding. 

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